339, Natalen Ave. was the home of Colonel Eben P. Swift, Jr. a long-time American war hero who served in the Spanish-American War and World War I. His one brother was Deputy Surgeon General and another, Major General Innis P. Swift, commanded the 1st Calvary Division from Fort Bliss to a victory in the Pacific during World War II.
Colonel Swift's home, built in 1937, is an austere, two-story structure, typical of pre-war housing sited near Fort Sam. Houses designed in this Minimal Traditional style that emerged during the Depression era in the United States typically had a boxy form with few projections and little ornamentation.
The fiber composite shingles covering the house's exterior with their characteristic wavy edge is vintage 1930s/40s. The shingles have been whitewashed; originally, it would have had a grey-blue, grey-green or pink tone to it. The gabled front entry that extends from the front face of the house and the screened porch to its side is possibly additions to the original structure.
The entry block is actually two closets that were built outside the house plan, with a niche carved out for the front door. The purpose of the two window-size niches (see version with images below) to each side of the door is a mystery; As well as the curving, cottage-craft frames, which were popular for ornamenting kitchen cabinetry and fireplaces from the 1920s to the 40s in San Antonio.
The wrought-iron rail, as well as the chandelier in the dining room, could be a design anywhere from 1937 to the 1970s.
Inside the house simplicity in form and ornament continues, however some expense was lavished on the classical molding and paneled woodwork of the living room fireplace. The built-in bookshelves and framing of doors and windows is done with a hardwood molding in a simple design and some texture to the walls of the house is effected by the use of a wide-plank, beadboard wood paneling, which originally may have been simply stained to expose the natural wood.
Other minimalist details to be appreciated are the brass finial at the staircase newel, the brass hinges of the kitchen cabinets (now painted over), and the jewel-like glass doorknobs. Other features original to the construction of the house is the black and white hexagonal tile in the bathroom and its vintage 1930s sink.
Mahncke Park is one of my favorite neighborhoods in San Antonio. Others seem to agree with me since the prices continue to increase and there isn't much inventory in Mahncke Park.
My newest listing is a home on Natalen that has been upgraded (Central HVAC, wiring, plumbing, foundation) and spiffed up (refinished hardwood floors, upgraded bathroom & kitchen). Frankly, this is very reasonably priced home in San Antonio's most perfectly placed neighborhood.
As usual, you are seeing this before I put up the sign and before I put it on MLS. If you know someone who is a good candidate for a home in Mahncke Park, please forward this on to them. We can be reached for more information at 210-733-1928.
Mahncke Park 3-1.5 Minimal Traditional - $132,000
A great two story home in Mahncke Park, renovated and updated with foundation improvements, upgraded plumbing and excellent amenities.
Note- The glassed-in sunroom is "finished out" in sheet rock. It looks odd from the outside, but I imagine it would be easy to remove the sheetrock to have a sun-filled room for tending to plants and reading.